katherine behar
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CONTACT & RESUME

Katherine Behar
Fine & Performing Arts Department
Baruch College, Box B7/23
55 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010

kb [AT] katherinebehar [DOT] com

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ARTIST STATEMENT

Matter Over Mind

In an age of ubiquitous computing, saying we are immersed in digital media has become a cliché. But what does it mean to share our world with advanced technologies? How can we best coexist with the inanimate world? Lay users typically leave these questions to specialists, but in my case they provide the subject for my work. With art, I try to impart a perverse counterpoint to prevailing mores about human-machine companionship.

Most researchers approach this problem by striving to engineer machines that might be perceived as being similar to the humans who use them. In the field of Human Computer Interaction, this motive drives everything from the design of intuitive interfaces to the development of artificially intelligent systems. I share the impulse to highlight commonalities between biological and technological forms of being. But I believe that computer science is dominated by hubristic design principles and that most research aims at an intellectualized version of anthropomorphism that winds up privileging all of the wrong human qualities.

Artificial Intelligence enthusiasts are eager to co-opt obdurate mechanical parts into the sapient realm. Interface designers are bent on sublimating if not erasing our sites of contact with machines to favor anticipatory, subconscious cybernetics. Complex systems engineers seek to program unpredictable, "lifelike," emergent behavior with simple lines of code. Each in their own way, these endeavors would create machines in the image of a human that amounts to a brain in a vat.

As an artist, not a scientist, I approach the problem of human-machine compatibility with reversed priorities: I am concerned with meeting my potential silicon siblings halfway. To that end, I try to show how human beings might become more inert, more materially fungible with other entities in the physical world. Being stuff is a trait common to biological and technological entities. Moreover, being stuff shows how humans are machinic: we are organized matter that staves off entropy and functions causally.

We need systems that remind us of our fallibility and of our own physical presence in the social, technosocial, eco-, and political systems we engage. My performances assert baseness and materiality as a common denominator shared by inorganic and organic machines. Placing matter over mind, I try to portray the condition of living sensuously in digital media and to promote camaraderie with the physical armatures that uphold bits and bytes.

BIOGRAPHY - 50 WORDS - SHORT/ART

Katherine Behar's interactive installations, videos, performances, and writings explore gender and labor in digital culture. Her work appears regularly throughout North America and Europe, and received a comprehensive survey at Pera Museum, Istanbul, in 2016. Based in Brooklyn, she is Associate Professor of New Media Arts at Baruch College, CUNY.

BIOGRAPHY - 50 WORDS - SHORT/PUBLICATIONS

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist who studies gender and labor in contemporary digital culture. Her books include Object-Oriented Feminism, Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity, and And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art. She is Associate Professor of New Media Arts at Baruch College and CUNY Graduate Center.

BIOGRAPHY - 100 WORDS - MEDIUM/GENERAL PURPOSE

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist whose works exploring gender and labor in contemporary digital culture have appeared throughout North America and Europe. Pera Museum presented Katherine Behar: Data's Entry | Veri Girişi (2016), a comprehensive survey exhibition and catalog. Additional solo exhibitions include Backups (2019), Anonymous Autonomous (2018), E-Waste (2014, catalog/traveling), and numerous others collaborating as "Disorientalism." Behar is the editor of Object-Oriented Feminism, coeditor of And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art, and author of Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity. She is Associate Professor of New Media Arts at Baruch College and The Graduate Center, CUNY.

BIOGRAPHY - 240 WORDS - LONG/GENERAL PURPOSE

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist and critical theorist of new media whose works exploring gender and labor in contemporary digital culture have appeared throughout North America and Europe. She is known for projects that mix low and high technologies to create hybrid forms that are by turns humorous and sensuous.

Pera Museum in Istanbul presented Katherine Behar: Data's Entry | Veri Girişi, a comprehensive survey exhibition and catalog, in 2016. Additional solo exhibitions include Katherine Behar: Backups at Framingham State University (2019) and Katherine Behar: Anonymous Autonomous at Robert Morris University (2018). Her 2014 solo exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: E-Waste, premiered at University of Kentucky before traveling to Boston Cyberarts Gallery. Since 2005 she has collaborated with Marianne M. Kim, exhibiting and performing as "Disorientalism."

Behar has edited and authored books including Object-Oriented Feminism (University of Minnesota Press), And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art (punctum books; coedited with Emmy Mikelson), and Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity (punctum books).

Fellowships and residencies include University of Kentucky, The MacDowell Colony, Nida Art Colony, Pioneer Works, Art Journal, Wassaic Project, Rubin Museum, Franklin Furnace, and others. Behar holds an MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College, an MA in Media Ecology from New York University, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is based in Brooklyn and is Associate Professor of New Media Arts at Baruch College and CUNY Graduate Center.

BIOGRAPHY - 800 WORDS - EXTENDED/ACADEMIC

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist and critical theorist of new media and is Associate Professor of New Media Arts at Baruch College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her work explores digital culture through feminism and materialism. Her artwork spans interactive installation, performance art, public art, photography, and video art to explore contemporary digital culture. She is known for projects that mix low and high technologies, creating hybrid forms that are by turns humorous and sensuous.

Behar's artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in private collections. Her survey exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: Data's Entry | Veri Girişi, was presented in 2016 at the Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, documenting eight years' of her work. Her 2019 solo exhibition Katherine Behar: Backups and 2018 solo exhibition Katherine Behar: Anonymous Autonomous were presented by Framingham State University and Robert Morris University, respectively. A previous solo exhibition, Katherine Behar: E-Waste, premiered with catalog at University of Kentucky in 2014, and traveled to Boston Cyberarts Gallery in 2015.

Behar writes and lectures widely on object-oriented feminism, decelerationist aesthetics, and artificial ignorance (terms she coined in 2010, 2012, and 2018, respectively), as well as ethics of emerging technology, technologized labor, and feminist media critique. She is the editor of Object-Oriented Feminism (University of Minnesota Press), the coeditor with Emmy Mikelson of And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art (punctum), and the author of Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity (punctum). Her exhibition catalogs include Data's Entry | Veri Girişi (Pera Museum) and E-Waste (Tuska Center for Contemporary Art). Additional writing has been published in books including Why Look at Plants? (Brill), After the "Speculative Turn" (punctum), and Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening (Green Lantern Press); in journals including Chiasma, Lateral, Media-N, Parsons Journal for Information Mapping, Visual Communication Quarterly, and EXTENSIONS: The Online Journal for Embodied Technology; and in conference proceedings for Digital Arts and Culture, SPIE, and Cyberworlds. Her writing has been translated into Turkish, Portuguese, Russian, and Lithuanian.

Behar's exhibition record includes international venues such as Pera Museum in Istanbul (TR), UNOACTU in Dresden (DE), the Mediations Biennale in Poznan (PL), Moscow Biennial Special Projects (RU), De Balie Centre for Culture and Politics in Amsterdam (NL), Digital Live Art Festival in Leeds (UK), MoKS in Mooste (EE), Galata Perform in Istanbul (TR), The National Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca (RO), Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax and FOFA Gallery in Montreal (CA), and The Swiss Institute in Rome (IT). Nationally, Behar has exhibited at New York venues including Judson Memorial Church, Radiator Gallery, Lesley Heller Workspace, Peter Fingesten Gallery, CANADA, The Big Screen Project, The Wassaic Project, The Hogar Collection, Novella Gallery, Socrates Sculpture Park, Art Assets, Galapagos, Monkey Town, Conflux, and the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Festival; at Miami venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, the de la Cruz Collection, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, The Girls Club Collection, O Cinema and the YoungArts Foundation Studio Space; at Chicago venues including the Chicago Cultural Center, Defibrillator Gallery, Versionfest, Glass Curtain Gallery, Alogon Gallery, Tough Gallery, and Betty Rymer Gallery; and across the US at venues including the Feldman Gallery + Project Space, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Maryland Art Place, The Alice, DiverseWorks, ArtSpace West, Garage Door and Tahoe Gallery, The Brunswick Window, Emily Davis Gallery, RE:View Contemporary, the Grand Rapids Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Cleveland Performance Art Festival+Archives, among others.

A highlight of her collaborative practice, Behar's ongoing project, "Disorientalism," is a decade-long multimedia performance art collaboration with Arizona-based artist Marianne M. Kim. Using live performance, video, and photographic projects, Disorientalism explores junk culture as a disorienting force that mediates race, gender, and bodies. Behar previously collaborated with Silvia Ruzanka and Ben Chang as "Resynplement," an experimental art and technology team (2009-2013). From 1999-2003, she was a founding artist and organizer at The Spareroom, a time arts cooperative in Chicago.

Fellowships and residencies include Santa Fe Art Institute (2020), University of Michigan (2019/2020), Nida Art Colony (2018), The MacDowell Colony (2017, 2013), Pioneer Works Tech Lab (2017), Art Journal (2010-2013), Rubin Museum of Art (2011), among others. Behar's artwork has been supported by grants and awards from the U.S. Consulate General in Leipzig, the Franklin Furnace Fund, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Cleveland Performance Art Festival. She has received academic research funding from Arizona State University, PSC-CUNY, Baruch College, New York University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as a sub-award from the National Science Foundation.

Behar holds an MFA in Combined Media from the Department of Art at Hunter College, an MA in Media Ecology from the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, and a BFA in Studio Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.